Wait. Is Wine Really Good for Your Heart?
You have probably heard about red wine and heart health. Specifically, that red wine is good for your heart health. Many past studies have indicated that moderate drinking may reduce risk of heart disease.
Wine has antioxidants which are anti-inflammatory. And chances are you have heard about resveratrol, even though you may get tongue-tied when you try to pronounce it. It is the main compound in wine that is believed to offer heart protection.
Wine may improve cholesterol levels and reduce damage to blood vessels, which can lead to cardiac events.
So, hey bottom’s up, let’s drink to that!
But slow your roll and back away from your beverage.
More recent studies are calling earlier conclusions into question due to confounding factors.
Research is mixed about whether alcohol is good for your heart health. The answer changes based on (1) how much you drink, (2) your pattern of drinking, (3) your age, (4) your sex, and (5) the type of cardiovascular disease you’re talking about.
There was one cool study published in the Journal Hypertension in August of 2021 on flavonoids, which is a type of plant compound in wine and many other foods.
The study found that people who ate more flavonoids had lower systolic blood pressure (the top number) and greater gut microbiome diversity, both of which may be protective for heart disease.
In the study, the researchers specifically found that drinking 2.8 glasses of wine per week OR eating 1.5 cups of berries a day both lowered systolic BP by about 4 mmHg.
See, there’s the kicker.
You don’t need the alcohol.
These flavonoids are also found in other plant foods like berries, apples, pears, tea, and dark chocolate and resveratrol is also found in red grapes and blueberries. Meh.
So, if you are looking for a reason to drink it, I’m super sorry to have to say this, there really isn’t one. (Keep reading – it gets better, I promise!).
Alcohol is one of the few things that truly is a toxin and carcinogen for our bodies when it is metabolized. And you can get the benefits that wine gives you from other foods that do not have alcohol.
But I too enjoy a glass of wine… So, what’s a wine drinker to do?
Just like you are allowed to eat foods that aren’t healthy all the time (I hope you knew this), you are allowed to drink things that aren’t healthy all the time too.
There is room in a generally healthy diet for moderate alcohol intake. So, what does that mean?
According to the Dietary Guidelines for Americans (DGA), that means a maximum of 1 drink a day for women and 2 drinks a day for men.
One drink is 5 ounces (such a sad, small pour) of wine, 12 ounces (1 can) of beer, or 1.5 ounces (1 shot) of liquor.
The DGA is for generally healthy adults, so how about the latest guidance from the American Heart Association (AHA) published in December 2021? They recommend the following:
- If you do not drink alcohol already, do not start.
- Do not binge drink.
- Both men and women should limit alcohol to 1 drink a day. (Sorry guys!)
So, yes, CHEERS to you… but with just one glass of wine. So, pick a good one!
Post a comment to share your favorite red wine with us.